Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Ho!Ho! Ho!

(But not in the American sense)


I am going away here for a few days.
Seeing as DETOX does not work, I have decided on the alternative approach and will be RETOXING over the early part of 2006.
See all in the New Year!!!

Kiss kiss.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Things that go "Boing!! Boing!!"

Here is something for elastic enthusiasts. (Remember to experiment with the mouse, as well as watch.)

I am very keen on this woman's hair; she seems able to do lots of interesting things with it.

It seems that there is a new kind of art for the web.

And THIS series of films in an elevator is FABULOUS.

Advertisements on television were the archetypal short narrative, that would have to be completed within thirty seconds or so. A narrative with a purpose to sell, to keep your attention and to be memorable. But now there is a new venue for shorties and on the internet they can even be interactive. I think that Internet stuff is often short as audiences are so often surfers in a hurry; maybe bloggers looking for titbits, workers looking for breaks, kids checking out new sensations.(Did you play with elastic girl?) And what bliss, they don't have to sell you owt. Sometimes they still do, but mainly it is FREE entertainment.

BUt here is why there are STILL so many Mums and Dads who hate t'internet??
Such a shame.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Whoa!! Interactivity!!

The Internet continues to reveal its hidden treasures to me and today I found this trove of interactivity.
It is an ad for an advertising company and is so slick that Brylcreme would look dull in cmparison.
I am not overloading this post with other links as otherwise you may drift off elsewhere and not do the main site properly.
But use your mouse and click about and see how many tricks it has to keep punters engrossed - and therefore reading about the product.
I am thinking of transforming the School of Education site like this.

But I know you don't want me to mention work, so here then is the REAL meaning of Christmas.

And here is a little gingerbread person out shopping for presents.


Hope you all get nice things.

Friday, December 23, 2005

What irritates YOU?

It is clear what is bugging this guy.

Maybe you have a moment to see how when you have been the victim of a mega irritating person, that Karma will ensure that person gets punished.


Finally if you are in the narrative swing, check out the Espresso stories ... even have a go yourself. They are short and powerful like an Espresso coffee. (I can only suppose that is how they got their name.)

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Do you have a moment?

Check here to see if you do ...

Got time?

Then go here.

Or maybe you have time to move away from your desk. Go here.

If you have just another minute, check out these two presents I got today. Lovely to be surrounded by pink, I have to say.
This is my new radio switched off.


This is my new radio switched on:


It makes the room go all funky when I turn my new radio on.

This is my Christmas tree purse:


Maybe you want a lesson on Visual Culture after all that?

(By the way I love the magic which technology brings to the pencil and paper handwriting activity. Gorgeous macro there.)

My site meter tells me that people spend an average amount of time of between 5 seconds and three minutes on my blog ... quite a challenge that.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005


Seeing as My Vedana mentioned it, I will supply the link. I got this in the summer but did not really dare post it. Wherewas the fear? Maybe it was the idea that Barbie wearing a Burkha was originally intended to undermine Islamic beliefs. I am not sure it could do that. Where is the original joke? Maybe that someone as glam as Barbie would not wear a burkha - but they patently do.
Many people have blogged about it - even though as far as I can tell only the concept exists, not the actual doll.
But I have also found this burka song again which I mentioned here a long time ago. (My previous link broke but now I have found a new location - I bet you're pleased.) I also found this further info.

NB Like Guy, (Guy Merchant's blog: consisting of current pre-occupations in a variety of realms populated by my multiple identities) I think that Barbie plays with multiple identities and that is why poewple are forever trying to find one that will undermine her iconic status...

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

The Reader is not Dead

Obviously readers will remember Toto from The Wizard of Oz.

Especially at this panto filled time of year.
('Panto', NOT 'Pants')

And I know you will feel pleased that the reader is still not dead. (Barthes actually wrote that the author was dead, in order to emphasis the vivacity of a reader). For a friend of mine was interactive when he watched The Wizard of Oz on tv at the weekend, and dressed himsellf and his dog in an appropriate manner:

Certainly we can see that my friend is a very avid, lively reader of texts.
(Here is Tallulah Sparkle who seems a little less than animated about being a fashion icon, however.)

Build your own


Monday, December 19, 2005

Excuses and stuff

I know you think I could not be bothered to blog, but in fact I have a lamer excuse.

I was too busy.
(Embarrassing, I know.)

This is the kind of excuse that might be anathema to REAL bloggers as REAL Bloggers scoff at those who say 'How do you find the time?'

But last week, I was hard pushed to find the time.


It is a bit like hardened runners who roll their eyes at people who are asked about how they find time to train. For some what is a way of life (blogging, running), is to others an interruption on the smooth running of other things (work, family).

But my blog has started to become a way of helping me think about and get into order the other aspects of my life. It has also become a ritual in my day and one which I move towards as the day goes on. I think about what to blog. Similarly runners use the running time to empty their minds; to think; and they feel uncomfortable if they do not run. It becomes a real need that involves guilt if it does not happen.I even feel like I have let people down.


Although I did not post anything here since last Tuesday, I have thought about things I wanted to post (and indeed there are a myriad of things gone by in the past, that I regret not posting about.)

here is how my week went:

Last Wednesday I did post here .

On Thursday I thought I would post about the amzing coincidence of meeting Alyson Simpson who works with Anya who I met in Miami the other week. How much of a coincidence is that??

Alyson came and spoke to Jackie and myself about her research and our research and we agreed that it would be great if Alyson came and did a seminar sometime next year when she is on Study Leave.

And I had not noticed at first that she is a co-author of this book which she and Anya both contributed to:


(I have not read this yet but will let you know when I do.)

On Friday I thought I would write about this strange phenomenon.

Have YOU become a lensmaster yet? ,

................................................ my brother asked me. ......

Well I registered and so on, but have not really got my head round what a lensmaster is yet. I think you must proclaim yourself to be an expert in something, and that is the trouble. Then people use you as a portal to grab related information to your expertise. As I did not want to be fraudulent I chickened out half way through. I had identity problems. Am I an expert on anything?

Doubt it, somehow.

And anyway I suppose you would have to keep writing endlessly about the same thing.


Then at the weekend I went here. Salt's mIll. Home of David Hocney paintings etc etc.

Interesting stuff.

Set here in Bronte Country:


It is an Old Textile Mill which was once filled with the working classes.


Transformed into a showspace for the middle-classes and their educated children. The cafe sells fusion food that people first experienced on their foreign holidays.

Salts Mill

It is all very bizarre. It also sells books and upmarket designer gadgets for the kitchen. It also has stuff (artefacts) to clutter up your house - if you want your house to look like a stage set..... (which I don't.)

Festive lemons

Festive apples

What can it mean?

I think it is strange, these transformations of working class Hellholes, into shopping areas.
I do like going to Salts Mill and have been LOADS of times to look at pictures; but it is a weird phenomenon.
We, (and I am talking for myself here), romanticise the past, filling it with cultured artefacts and positioning ourselves in that contemporary space, yet re-posditioning ourselves in relation to times gone by. By re-articulating the present space, we somehow see the past differently. The place is like a stage set, a new arena, and we envisage the past as peopled by actors, who pose in our minds, in stances that pictorialise history.
The past becomes infused with the present, a kind of comfortable pastiche and we think about industrialsed England almost as a small chapter in a cultivated story of the place.

(I wouldn't buy those lemons though.)

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Taking the pith

The answer is here:


The question was here

Couldn't stop laughing

when DrKate gave me this:

That's what I am


Monday, December 12, 2005

Merry Christmas from Canary Wharf Management



On my birthday (nearly two weeks ago now, but hey, what the Hell) my brother sent me a blended message from here. You click to unblend it amd you can play on the site if youy want to. It is quite fun.

Blending is all the rage.
You can have blended learning.
You can haveblended drinks.
You can have blended fashion .
And blended coffee.

DigitalDubs and Mr. Catera

DigitalDubs and Mr. Catera
Originally uploaded by eyoalha.
Digital worlds, digital lives.

Beyond the Surface

Beyond the Surface
Originally uploaded by pupski.
Looking again at the everyday stuff. Things that are just trodden upon, shown to us here and seen anew through an artist's eyes. I like this.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Celebrities and Monarchs

Another thing on Identity.
These people believe they are special and are entitled to priveleges.
That is because people around them pretend they are soooper superior.
Then everyone (except me and you) starts to believe it all. They end up thinking it is really true that they deserve to be treated as special and that it is a criminal offence not to treat them as special.

Very weird.

And sometimes the special/not special people pretend to believe they are ordinary; and really ordinary people pretend to believe that they are ordinary, but in an extraodinary way. Which is somehow supposed to be even better than being simply special.

It can be very confusing.

Yesterday I accidentally watched a bit of a tv programme where Sir Cliff (yes, 'Sir') was being interviewed. I heard him say something like,

'Yes I am just ordinary.On Christmas day I will be going to church and then spending the day with my family and friends just like ordnary people do.'

Yes Cliff. We know you are ordinary. But do you? Mind you if he keeps saying often enough 'I am just ordinary' more and morepeople will believe he is extraordinary.

Anyway yesterday in town I caught these two hot babes moving on with their identity formations like this:


I don't need to do this as I have a hairspray thing which helps me be a Queen AND a Superstar:


I suppose you thought that my extraordinarily luscious hair was natural. But is is not, ithas been faked with what is now referred to as 'product'. 'Product' used to be called hairspray.

Quiz 2

What do you think this is then?


Saturday, December 10, 2005


Do you know what this is?


Or this?


(I want a precise answer for the above please)

Have a crisp while you are thinking...


I have been shopping today, more of which tomorrow.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Train Rumbles by Saks 5th avenue Model

This comes with the caption 'Real model trains'
An addition to the authenticity discussion!

FJ Advent Calendar 2005 - Dec 9th

A bit of competition for the advent calendar blogger.

Doing Digital Being Digital - CRIT

Perhaps people's notions of where the boundaries of literacy lie are to do with the fact that digital literacies are so social. Lewis and Fabos's 14 year old informant said to them:

Everybody dores it. It's like I've grown up on it. It's like how you felt about stuff when you were growing up.


Michele said last week that we could perhaps refer not to Information Communication Technologies, (ICT) but to Information, Relationship and Communication Technologies (IRCT). My preference is for Communication, Relationship and Information Technologies, because we can call it CRIT, or maybe even Social Communication, Relationship Information Technologies (SCRIT). Or maybe ...

Well I think that because we are so busy using our digital tools in our lives to do things all the time, we move from one digital item in careful, discriminating and blended ways all the time. It is about DOING, not just reading or writing. We DO notice when we move from one tool to another; we choose carefully whether to text, to talk, to Instant Message, to blog or to write an article on our word processors. But we move in free flow from one area to another; our i-pods are commodity fetishes; so artifacts, the tools we use are fashion items , are clothing. In this way we blur the boundaries between jewellery and technology. So it is easy, I think, for resaerchers to start thinking about the body as text, fashion as text.


Our mobile phones allow us to do particular identity performances; our blogs allow us to play with ideas to do with work, to do with family and to bring in images from our phones or Flickr sites. We customise our blogs and personal sites, like we decorate and furnish our home spaces and teenage bedroom walls. It becomes easy for me to think about these kinds of spaces as texts from which to read off messages about identity. Our activities are facilitated by our use of materials in a blended way. And so I think it is becoming tempting to broaden our notions of literacy.

Those who are insiders of the technology seem to make the choices of what technology to use and when, with ease ... but those who don't?

We need to teach them. It is about the right technology in the right context; not just the right language in the right context. Because medium, message and mode are so close, we need incorporate medium and modality because they partly constitute the message and impact on meaning.

So I argue for a broad notion of what literacy is about. And I want to be a semiotician.

(Well, it is easier than being an acrobat in Picadilly Circus, which is what I wanted to be when I was seven.)

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Tim Tams



Yum Yum Yum

Anya bought me Tim Tams and tonight I experienced my first chocolate explosion. Luckily I found illustrated instructions here and had also seen Nicole Kidman demonstrate on tv.

And I aso finally managed to get time to pick up the birthday presents that
were delivered while I was away last week...

a set of pearls from June (My Mum):


a beautiful shiny bracelet from Jane: bracelet

a lovely pendant from City Bitch (Emma):

And how did Digigran realise? I am really DOING Christmas this year? She got me this to die for decoration:


How wonderful that people bought me beautiful presents which I love.

Thank you everyone. I feel very smiley.

One of the things I love about photographs is the way they can help you see things really quite purely. You can look closer at things without having to experience other stuff at the same time. It is quite nice to see things out of context for a change. It makes you concentrate on colour, shade, shape, design and even the sight of texture. Photographs turn one artefact into another type of artefact.Photographs are transformative. They can help you see more closely, or even to take in a panorama without you needing to turn your head.

And none of these photos would have been as good without the new Macro lens which TT bought for me.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Real/not real Show/hide

Authenticity was something people kept alluding to at the NRC in Miami. 'Authenticity', the art of being 'genuine' is something, which in all its guises (yes, truly!) I have been fascinated by for a long time now. So I guess that is why I picked up on it, even though I got the feeling that Guy thought I was being a bit boring! (He was quite polite though.)

But this is the way the ideas came upon me. People talked about:

  1. How can you know if the person really is who they say they are on the Internet? How can you know that the person who says she is a fourteen year old girl from Ohio is not a perverted 40 year old man? This is a question about malicious deceit that could actually be dangerous. Its roots are to be found in traditional fears of lurkers and paedophiles on the Internet. This issue came up twice in questions from the audience to papers about blogging and about discussion boards.
  2. When you are on your blog, are you showing the 'real you'? Or is this just a 'version' of the 'real you'? (This could be intentional or unintentional. It is about presentation of self in order to 'fit' with audience expectation, or what someone wants a reader to see.) This came up twice as an issue in two different papers. One was about blogging - I think it was from Sarah and one was about role play in gaming.
  3. When a teacher is in school and doing various activities with a class, e.g. creating a fanzine, ir creating a blog, are these 'real' fanzines? Are these 'real blogs'? (Or is this a lame, fake exercise by a teacher who cannot recreate a specific context appropriately.) This was definitely raised by one of Sarah's research subjects as mentioned in her paper on blogging in school.

Incidentally, I have also been fascinated by other accusations of fakery, or questions about authenticity in other situations too. For example, the perennial cries from Big Brother housemates are of this kind: 'She is not being genuine'; 'She is just playing to the cameras'; 'Is he for real? Is he really being himself? Or putting on a show?'

Moreover, when people dye their hair, remarks like' You can tell she dyes it' used to very insulting. Nowadays, when extreme makeovers are becoming commodity items for the rich and famous attitudes have become much more complex to interpret. However, if people are known to dye their hair from grey, this is not such a funky thing to do as dying it blue from brown, for example. So one is seen as faking it, a bit underhand; the other as a fashion statement.

So what do I think?

To take them in order:

  1. I feel a bit emotional about the first one. Firstly, considering the numbers of people who go on the Internet everyday, there is very little deceit or crime. Compared to real world stuff my experiences online have been overwhelmingly positive. Moreover, as Guy's work has shown, as has that of Valentine and Holloway, and many others - so many online interactions take place amongst known others from meatspace. Also it is possible to be very deceitful in meatspace of course. Pat Sikes has written about being deceived by informants in her research, for example. But the thing that makes me emotional about this, is that my daughter when she was about fourteen was in the middle of setting up a website with someone from Canada - another young girl. They had never met in 'meatspace' but had been talking online for a couple of years and had mutual online friends. One day my daughter was in tears about the fact that the Canadian girl's Mum had stopped the relationship. The mother said that she could tell my daughter was really a 'forty year old male pervert'. Yes!! So my daughter wondered what on earth it was that she said that sounded so weird and was upset that the relationship ended. That was a spin off which I had not expected, that such fears could create unpleasant events like that.
  2. The second point, is about identity. One if the hardest things to do I think, in any medium (Art, Drama, film, text...) is express yourself in a way which conveys what you want to say/show exactly. And there are bound to be a range of ways of interpreting of course. And who knows which you is the real you? We have multiple ways of being, so why do perfectly sensible people try to work out if you are putting on a 'front'? And if you are deliberately presenting a particular type of self, why is this more debated when it is online? We put ourselves in a fishbowllike the Big Brother people. But, whoever asked Tracy Emin if she was presenting her true self here? Is it because we seem like we are 'doing' real life, as it happens. Is it because of the presentation of the everyday stuff, but with bits missed out? Maybe it is that show/hide thing; we show more than people think we might, so then they think we are pretending to show all. There is something perhaps more nuanced, more resonant about presenting oneself online that prompts people to think around the ideas of real/not real. What is it that makes us ask these questions so often, so strongly and with such urgency? Why do we not worry about identity presentation so much in other media.
  3. And now the thing about blimen school. Oh dear. Schools are not real. Well, yes they are, I exaggerate. But they cannot possibly hope to recreate everything that is going on at home in the school; if it did, it would be bedlam. If teachers said to kids, 'Write what you like, it's a blog' the kids would KNOW that this offer was a fakery. They would know that the minute they wrote about sex, about how they hate their Mum/teacher/school/brother etc it would get censored. So the kids know there is a lot of pretending in school; that it is not like life outside. If we pretend that this is not so, then that is where the fakery is. I agree that this is a problem with schools; so a lot of the time, schools have to just set a few things going, in a preparatory way. So that when the kids are away from school they CAN do it properly. Schools need to prepare the kids to do stuff; it cannot all be done 'on the premises'. I am sorry about that. I don't like schools in general, but cannot berate teachers for not managing to work within a system where things are sometimes set up not to work in the same way as beyond the school gates.

Let me declare: 'These roses are photoshopped". Is that OK? The image has been treated to a bit of contrast and light adjustment ... .am I trying to hide poor photography? Or am I clever to use photoshop?

(And finally, well done if you stayed this long on my rant.)


Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Jinxed and Digitally Dependent

I cannot get into i anya, Blogtrax or the new Digital Literacies blog I am just setting up for the UKLA SIG. (United Kingdom Litearcy Association Special Interest Group.) I keep getting some weird Blogsome admin page.

My Vedana came up with an error message too. I breathed a sigh of relief when I got to DrRob but then could not read to the bottom of his blog page and so do not know why he got kicked out of the hairdressers by the girl with the Bling tooth. I am being stopped by the Goddess of Digitology.

Finally I did get through to Drkate and learned (ironically) about spirals, which seemed to get me nowhere. But now it is time to go as I have had my fifteen minute break from HARD WORK.

I will post properly this evening but needed in the meantime to share how distraught I am to be denied access.
What is happening to us all?

Without my online fixes I am as nothing ... it is as Cynthia Lewis's informant said:

Abby: It’s like, ‘Oh, It’s 9 o’clock. I gotta get on the
computer!’ And it’s like, if we can’t, it’s like … what am I going to
do?!! … I don’t know. It’s just part of my night.
I am beginning to think that technology not only helps me keep in touch wth others but is also the gateway that helps me think - keeping me in touch with MYSELF. It is part of my identity and without it I find I am at a bit of a loss, waiting for my next opportunity to think properly. I am quite serious about this. Am I a cyborg? (Less serious about this.)

Hopefully all will be well again in the blogosphere by this evening.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Christmas is coming ...

and I am getting in the mood for a serious bout of consumerism...





Are you excited??

I can certainly say that TT and I are in the spirit.

(Tomorrow I go back to being extremely intellectual. And you will wish I went back to the pink slush.)

This photo is so cool

I have shown you this site before and it is on my sidebar. But you may have forgotten about it and today's photo is EXCELLENT.
Don't you think so?

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Terminal 2

turned out to be THE place to be on Saturday.

I had the most surreal airport experience you can imagine... in Charles de Gaulle Paris, there were about 40 young black people from Canada and from all over Southern Africa. They were doing some sort of voluntary work- having been in Canada they were off for three months to South Africa.
I was aware of this beautiful group of people as soon as I arrived in Paris ... they were talking in French, in English and in a number of languages I did not recognise.





But then they started singing, quite quietly at first,


and more and more joined in .... I have never been amongst such an emotion provoking 'happening' like that. They sang a whole range of African songs and danced as they sang. I wish I could have taped it.



But of course, the police came and stopped them.


They attracted quite a crowd, all enjoying it, apart from 4 white men from Liverpool - they sported stereotypical skinhead haircuts, tattoos and plenty of metal work round their hands and neck. I did not photograph them...

The young people told me they were working with a Canadian charity called, I think, Canada World Youth. The ones I spoke to were from Cape Town, Namibia, Mazambiqu and Zimbabwe. Very exciting for them to do this project and very exciting for me to meet them and hear music that was so powerful it made me want to cry.. (but I suppose I had by then been travelling for around 15 hours!)

I loved the way these young people were blending the many types of culture that make up their lives - with their baseball caps and their walkmans, their African selves and their western interests. I loved the way theu whiled away their time - some sleeping, some talking and some singing. Their companiability felt infectious and I was glad to have rubbed shoulders with them in Terminal 2.

About Me

My photo
Sheffield, South Yorks, United Kingdom
I am an academic interested in New Literacies, Digital Lifestyles, Informal Online Learning.